The Invitation (2015)

DailyView: Day 65, Movie 110

Here is another movie that I had never heard about. I saw a recommendation on Twitter for this movie from film critic William Bibbiani, who made mention that this movie would be leaving Netflix on July 7th. The film sounded fascinating and so it moved to the front of the list for the DailyView.

This one was intense.

Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and his new girlfriend Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi) accepted an invitation for a dinner party from his ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard). Their marriage had ended in tragedy and had caused both of them terrible pain and anguish, so returning to the house was going to be potentially triggering for Will.

Many of his old friends are in attendance at the dinner party too, trying to make the awkward situation a little more comfortable. Eden’s new husband David (Michiel Huisman) is there as well, trying to be welcoming. The entire evening is weird as Will struggled with the ghosts of the past.

Eden and David’s new friends joined the party. Pruitt (John Carroll Lynch) and Sadie (Lindsay Burdge) both had a strange presence about them and when Pruitt revealed that he had killed his wife and spent time in prison, things only became more bizarre.

After awhile, Will began to suspect that Eden and David had an ulterior motive for bringing everybody together and that it might be a sinister plan.

I found this to be really engaging and thoroughly engrossing as the film slowly built the tension with its gradual development of the story and the interactions between the different characters. We discovered bits of information as the film progressed, each nugget creating another layer of anxiety. All the while, the film continued to keep you doubting whether Will was a reliable source or was the trauma of his past causing him to be delusional.

John Carroll Lynch is wonderfully eerie in roles like this. He was brilliant in David Fincher’s Zodiac and he picks up that same type of tone here.

The pace is intentionally slow, but once it “hits the fan” it goes crazy. The final shot of the movie was creepy and spoke to the scope of what felt like a small and intimate moment in time.

I enjoyed The Invitation a lot. It was tense and nerve wracking without being terribly over-the-top. The characters were handled well considering the number of them and Will and Eden’s horrible past makes perfect sense for what was to happen.

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